Cloud computing is no rocket science as you read on tech blogs. Accept it or not, the world is now giving up on business systems that were once dominated by personal computers and servers. These are being subsumed in cloud computing and smartphones.
Gone are the days when technical experts deal with ginormous data servers and software customizations. If you require an ERP system for your CRM, you log-in, input corporate information, select items that you need (just like online shopping) and integrate with your SaaS vendor. Within an hour or less, you have an online system in place.
At this day and age, the key to thrive in cloud computing and smartphone era is to stay relevant. How do you stay relevant then? Can you quickly cope with changes? Are you ready for the big switch?
As you transition to cloud, no one should get left behind, especially your IT folks. You don’t just count them out of the organization because you have found a more scalable and cost-efficient solution. The smart move is to reinvent their roles. Change their job descriptions… a bit.
1. Demise by Obsolescence
The capitalization in IT infrastructure is going away in the next five to six years. This is inevitable. Death by oldness.
IT department will not die. Certainly. They will no longer be a group of people sitting around and wondering what the next project is.
If well managed, they will be spending more time driving business initiatives that will spur growth, and not the usual work to maintain status quo. IT will leave their passive roles behind. They will suit up with aggressiveness.
2. The Big Data Authority
Cloud hosting providers are already offering big data services for customers. These include collection and consolidation. By default, those who have control over information are “the single throat choke if something goes terribly wrong” or the trusted partner (with sugar coating).
Big data is now being used to build strong and efficient business insights. Rehearse your IT to crunch your company’s data. Let them digest it to a more comprehensive form for a regular employee. Make them the big data analytics and business intelligence specialists.
From the usual running of timecards, network processing and troubleshooting, the IT guys can now generate real-time business value and drive new opportunities.
They will now transform as corporate managers of information (turned into assets) that are spread across a diverse ecosystem.
3. From Cost Center to Strategic Center
IT becoming a profit center is an ideal situation. The CIO now identifies how to “turn data into money” and how to be more “entrepreneurial” with information at hand.
Furthermore, there will be an immediate need for them to initiate managing and tracking of external services (cloud hosting) and internal systems (remnants of old IT infrastructure) to help the company make potent and economical IT choices that will meet the enterprise demands.
There will be somewhat a reversal of roles between CFO and CIO (and the IT department). CIO and IT staff will become the broker and adviser of business units. The CFO will take on the responsibility of ensuring that cost reduction promised by cloud is realized.
4. The owner becomes a custodian
The prime choices would be IaaS, SaaS or PaaS. Whichever you choose, your IT will now be the orchestrator of services. They won’t run the system.
They will command how infrastructures, software or platforms should run. IT will also be responsible in monitoring SLAs, deployments, security testing and password cracking drills by vendors. Dirty work will be taken away from them, regardless of nomenclatures.
Contrary to skepticism, the role of IT will never dim amidst cloud migration. In fact, organizations can turn them from CFO’s mortal enemy to a strategic business partner.
The challenge here is for a company to sustain IT agility and efficiencies amid depreciation of IT assets as you turn into a utility-based model of some sort (or the cloud). This is where finding the right cloud hosting provider that understands your needs and assists you with transition from day one until final deployment, is deemed necessary.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Torkild Retvedt